Thursday, April 30, 2020

John I. Slingerland and the Pearl

Slingerland Stories*

John I. Slingerland and the Pearl

In the spring of 1848, John I. Slingerland was in Washington DC serving as a member of Congress.   He witnessed the remarkable events that unfolded around the attempt by 77 slaves to sail to freedom aboard the Pearl.  After the slaves were captured and returned to Washington, riots broke out between the pro and anti-slavery sides. Slingerland was in the thick of it, angrily declaring that he was an abolitionist and witnessing the painful separation of families as the captured slaves were taken aboard trains to be transported south and sold deeper into bondage.  Slingerland wrote an eloquent letter describing the horrors of slavery, what he called the “direful curse of human bondage.”

For more info about the Pearl, check out these websites:;idno=07838804;view=image;seq=1;cc=mayantislavery;page=root;size=100

For more John I. Slingerland and family:

The books pictured below excellent.  Look for them on Google books and you can search inside for Slingerland.

And finally, John I. Slingerlands' letter describing the scene at the railroad was widely reprinted in newspapers in April, May and June of 1848.  The original publication was in the April 22, 1848 edition of the Albany Evening Journal. 

The pictures below are from the St. Albans (VT) Messenger, June 8, 1848.

And of course for more about the Slingerlands Family Burial Vault project, go to

This blog is part of an experimental series that will provide more information related to signs posted at the Slingerland Family Burial Vault site. It is a work in progress!  Future topic ideas include William H. Slingerland and the Capitol Ceiling, Leah Slingerland and the Panther, John H. Slingerland's service in the Civil War, and architect Grace Slingerland.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your post. I find the John I. Slingerlands letter very moving.